High school football is like a religion in Texas, and Friday night at the Berry Center, that means going right down to passing the bucket.
“We are here to play football and we are here to win the game, but it goes beyond that,” said Craig Wise a Cameron Yoe High School parent.
Noah Ortiz, No. 50 for the Edna High School football team, proved it on a horrific morning nearly three weeks ago by going back into his burning house to find his little sisters.
Ortiz never made it out.
Now, it’s his team No. 50 carries.
“He was very passionate about football. He loved football and you just gotta learn from it,” said Johnny Hernandez, Ortiz’s stepfather and the father of three of the other children killed in that fire.
No. 50 is everywhere here.
He is even in a place where he probably shouldn’t be, in the sea of Crimson on the Cameron sideline.
“We take life for granted far too often, and this is just a reminder to us,” said Kim Wise, a parent at Cameron Yoe. “You know what a selfless young man she was raising to go back in that building.”
The team on the other side of the ball raised more than $36,000 in just a week—not for footballs or camps, but to help the family that knows more about loss than anything that can happen on this field.
The financial support is appreciated and the emotional support can’t be compared, but the lesson learned is unmatched.
“Thank you and God bless you all. That is all I can say,” said Annabel Ortiz while holding her only surviving child.
Edna is determination in the face of unimaginable loss.
Cameron is impressive on the field and even more off it.
“It is nice to see there are still good people around,” said Robert Garza, an Edna Fan.
“Tonight, no matter if the win or lose, he is still gonna be proud of his team. That is how my son was,” Hernandez said.
No. 50 is with you.
Crimson or Blue.